LAYTON — Plans to initiate a Boys & Girls Club in this community still face some steep hurdles, and it is touch-and-go as to whether one will be operational by Jan. 1.
Val Stratford, head of the Layton Community Action Council, said plans to open a club in Layton and operate out of the old armory building on the Central Davis Junior High School campus are hopeful, at best.
After a summer of negotiations, talks between the city and Davis County School District broke down over liability questions.
The city rents the building from the district, and Stratford said he is negotiating with the district directly in hopes of making some sort of arrangement to allow the club to begin using the structure next year.
Stratford said officials from both the city and school are eager to see a Boys & Girls Club in the community, but the issue of maintenance — for example, if a boiler were to need replacing in the old structure — has been a major obstacle.
“They (the district) want a Boys & Girls Club. The armory is the perfect place to have it, but there is the obstacle of liability and maintenance. We haven’t sorted it out.
“We hope we can get in there and get some sort of operational agreement,” he said of the negotiations.
The obstacles go beyond a place to meet. Stratford estimates it will take $100,000 in operational funds to offer programming to youths after school.
He said he has been in a fundraising mode for most of the year in hopes of cobbling together support for the initiative. He wants to offer programming for up to 100 kids as part of a club setup.
There is a chapter of the club in Clearfield, which Stratford had a hand in helping initiate several years ago.
Efforts to get a club started in Layton before that were unsuccessful. Stratford said he has been pushing an effort to get a local club started for 12 years.
The Layton insurance executive said the needs are real in the community and the club can help address some of them.
“I’m anxious to help the underprivileged and homeless kids in Davis County. We know we have a significant population of the kids,” Stratford said.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America are based out of Atlanta, Ga. The clubs offer a range of programs that include character and leadership development; educational and career development; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and other programs aimed at diversity and prevention.
The national organization includes kids from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Locally, Stratford said, a growing number of at-risk kids in the northern end of the county suggests something needs to be done for young people. He thinks a Boys & Girls Club is the best option.
As part of a startup plan, Stratford hopes to offer programming from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., immediately after school, and offer a 6 p.m. program and options for kids to engage in activities, do homework and to stay off the streets.
Forming a local club is an outgrowth of the Communities That Care initiative, Stratford said. The CTC objectives have been embraced as part of the Layton City Council objectives.